The hubs and I like to explore the world. After having two babies within two years, we actually took more trips than we did pre-parenthood. Some might say we’re nuts for doing this but for us it’s actually a good stress reliever. A good break from the everyday routine.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s hectic as ever trying to pack and organize the essentials for 4 people into two suitcases! And my idea of “essentials” greatly differs from my husbands’. I tend to overthink how many outfits we’ll need, how many diapers the kids will go through, what if they get sick – better bring ALL the *meds* they might need! I think after our second was born, I loosened up somewhat. But I’m still an over packer!
Packing lists. A good tip is to create packing lists. It sounds obvious but I find using this system to organize our packing greatly relieves my stress level. I love mentally ticking off items from the list! I made one when we took our first vacation as a family of three and have more or less used the same one since with tweaks based on where we’re going and for how long. Our list is based on each family member’s clothing essentials, toiletries, accessories, footwear and then general items that everyone needs (food, medication, toys, electronics, etc.). A packing list for your carryon/diaper bag is useful as well. If you haven’t guessed by now, I thrive on making lists!
This past week we took a mini road trip to Niagara Falls. It was a last minute trip and I packed just before we left. Since it was only a couple days and it was local, I decided to pack on the fly. It is the one time I forgot my pj’s! Never again will I abandon my trusty packing list.
Busy bags. Another good idea is to to make “busy bags” for your kids to play with, especially if you’ll be travelling on an airplane or taking a long car ride. A clear, resealable bag with a few toys, books, games, crayons, blank paper, colouring books etc. is handy to have. It saves you having to rummage through your bag for a specific item. A good tip is to include a few new items. This will buy you some quiet time (hopefully) as your little one will be curious to explore the new items. I like to organize these according to the items in them. So I’ll have one for books, another for colouring activities, stickers etc. If your child is old enough to carry their own backpack, just keep them in there for easy access.
Food. If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll want something to eat the minute you leave the house! I always have crackers and snack bars in my bag. But if you’re going to be travelling on a longer journey, make sure to stock up. I like to include fresh fruits (pre-washed and cut if needed), yogurts, cheese, dried fruits, trail mixes, cookies and candy (for when you need to bribe them!). Pack whatever they like to eat as being in new surroundings and eating new foods can be a big adjustment for some kids. And use the perishable food items first (yogurts and cheese especially).
Accommodation. On our first trip as parents, we booked an Airbnb condo as we wanted the comforts and convenience of a home. It was useful to have a kitchenette to make quick meals for our baby and a laundry room to launder our clothes. On subsequent trips we’ve stayed in hotels that have laundry facilities (self serve) along with entertainment for kids (playroom, waterslides, parks etc.).
Itinerary. Always, always account for nap times! Being out and about all day long is tiring on everyone, especially little bodies. Prior to our trip, we create an itinerary of the places we’ll visit, things we’ll do and on which day we’ll do them. We make sure not to over schedule as a beautiful day exploring can quickly change with a cranky, overtired child.
Strollers and baby carriers. They make travelling easier. Plain and simple. And they work well for naps too! Win-win! We like our Maclaren umbrella stroller as it’s lightweight, reclines, and is sturdy. Ergo is our preferred carrier. I did a post a while back on baby wearing where I talked about our Ergo.
These are my go-to’s to make my travels smoother with two little ones. Hope you found them useful. If you have tips of your own, please share them with me as well.